The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, announced this Monday from Brussels that the member countries of the Alliance will agree to reinforce the battalions in Eastern European countries and increase their high readiness forces to 300,000.
“We will transform the response of NATO forces and increase our high readiness forces to more than 300,000,” the Secretary General of the Alliance detailed at a press conference.
Stoltenberg’s statements come on the eve of the Alliance summit in Madrid on the 29th and 30th, to which they will attend 44 international delegations and around 5,000 attendees. The summit will address the NATO’s new strategic conceptwhich will direct the strategies of the Alliance in the coming years and which will take into account the current crisis with Russia, the growing challenge of China, cybersecurity or climate change.
Reinforcement of battalions in Eastern countries
The NATO Secretary General has also stated that the Alliance Heads of State and Government will agree reinforce some of the battalions deployed in Eastern European countries at the brigade level.
In this sense, Stoltenberg has explained that there is a process for increase the NATO presence in Poland and strengthen it at the brigade level.
“Poland is one of our greatest allies. All NATO countries have a significant presence in Poland,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “the details will be decided as we implement the decisions at the summit“. “I trust that Poland will see that NATO has to increase its presence of ddifferent ways to strengthen our deterrence“, he asserted.
Sweden, Finland and Turkey will meet in Madrid
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö, and the Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, will meet this Tuesday in Madrid with the objective of unblocking Ankara’s veto to the accession of the two Nordic countries to NATO. Turkey accuses Helsinki and Stockholm of maintaining a policy of welcoming Kurdish militants, whom Erdogan considers terrorists.
The secretary general of the Alliance has applauded the willingness of the three leaders to meet in the Spanish capital and has indicated that the meeting will try to achieve “application progress” from Finland and Swedenalthough he has underlined that “the security concerns of all allies are taken into account“.
“I am pleased that the three leaders will meet tomorrow in Madrid by accepting my invitation. The objective is to advance in terms of the entry of Sweden and Finland. I am not going to make promises, but I can assure you that we are actively working to advance because these requests are historical“, Stoltenberg indicated, adding that “they will strengthen the security of Finland and Sweden, as well as NATO.” “It will be something that will contribute to stability in the entire Euro-Atlantic and North American area“, he stressed.
Stoltenberg has insisted that the Madrid summit “has never been a deadline”but he stressed that “it represents an opportunity that we should take advantage of to see how far we can go”.
Russia, a “direct threat” to NATO’s security
At the NATO summit in Madrid, Alliance leaders will also agree on a new strategic concept for “a new security reality”, as Stoltenberg has pointed out.
“Our new strategic concept will guide the Alliance’s strategic competition and I hope it will make it clear that our allies consider Russia a significant and direct threat to our security“, stressed the Secretary General of NATO.
In the current strategic concept of the Alliance, which was approved at the Lisbon summit in 2010, the countries agreed that Russia was a strategic partner of NATO. “That is not going to be the case in the new strategic concept that we will agree on in Madrid. I hope that the allies make it clear that Russia represents a threat to values, security and the rules of order“, he asserted.
Likewise, Stoltenberg has detailed that the new strategic concept will speak “for the first time from China”, as well as terrorism and climate change.